HUNDREDS of Simister residents braved the wind and rain to protest against plans to build on green belt land surrounding the village.

Armed with banners and placards, campaigners walked from the Farmer's Arms pub to Bowlee and back this morning to highlight their opposition to the proposals.

Under the revised Greater Manchester Spatial Framework, the region's vision for jobs, homes and the environment until 2037, a large portion of land surrounding the village will be transformed into an industrial site called the Northern Gateway, which could potentially create 25,000 jobs. 2,700 homes have also been earmarked for the site.

Donna Kelty, who lives in Droughts Lane in the village, was among those who joined in the march.

Ms Kelty, aged 50, said: "These proposals will ruin our green belt and our wildlife, and will depreciate the value of our properties, while also increasing traffic.

"We are not convinced the council will build the infrastructure that these proposals require.

"We do not expect them not to build, but it should be more evenly distributed throughout the borough."

Kristian Dodsworth from Simister Village Community Association, who helped organise the walk, accused Bury Council of having "dumped" the homes in one area instead of spreading them across the borough.

He added: "We will be taking a quarter of the industrial units for the whole of Greater Manchester. It is going to be chaos here.

"We just do not have the infrastructure to cope with that. Simister Lane only has one lane and they are proposing that the link road which will alleviate this will not be built until after 2037.

"Simister only has about 650 residents. We are very small community, and I think that is one of the reasons why they picked this area.

"The turnout today is great, though, considering the terrible weather."

James Mason, from the Bury Folk Keep It Green group also attended the march and said: "Given the weather, the turnout is fantastic. It shows the strength of feeling against these plans."

Hundreds of people are also expected to march out in protest against plans to build thousands of homes on Bury and Radcliffe's green belt land next Sunday.

The Bury Folk Keep It Green group will walk from Elton High School to Elton Reservoir from 1pm.

Protestors are being encouraged to wear green for the march, which has been organised for St Patrick's Day — and the day before the Greater Manchester Spatial Framework (GMSF) consultation ends.

The revised masterplan sets out Greater Manchester’s vision for jobs, homes and the environment until 2037.

A total of 9,500 homes need to be built in Bury according to the plan.

As well as the Northern Gateway, major housing sites include Walshaw, and around Elton Reservoir.

In the latest draft released in January, the net loss to green belt land was cut by 40 per cent

Now down to 12 per cent, a fifth of the borough’s green belt was originally marked down for development when the first draft was released in October 2016.